Our internationally-acclaimed feature documentary Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees has been nominated for the Rob Stewart Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series at the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television’s 2018 Canadian Screen Awards.
Produced by Winnipeg’s Merit Motion Pictures and Edgeland Films, and directed by Peabody-winner Jeff McKay, Call of the Forest was a five-year labour of love, during which McKay followed visionary scientist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger across the globe. The film explores the profound human connection to our ancient northern forests through a unique lens of both traditional folklore and modern science, calling each and every one of us to pick up a shovel and take part in replanting the global forest.
News of the nomination was received with excitement and gratitude by the team - “a real honour,” according to McKay. Beresford-Kroeger is hopeful that the recognition will give the film the chance to inspire an even wider audience. “The world needs to know that there is an answer to climate change,” she says.
Declared “magnificent” by David Suzuki, and “a film of rare significance” by Pulitzer-winning author Annie Proulx, Call of the Forest has proved to be a critical and commercial success since its launch in 2016. The film won the Nature Award at Cinema Verde Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Science Television and Best Conservation Film at the prestigious Pariscience Film Festival in Paris, France. Over the course of its theatrical run, Call of the Forest has screened to sold-out audiences in over 20 theatres across Canada, breaking one cinema's 30-year box office record. The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, endorsed the film in a letter, saying:
“This wonderful film reminds us of the profound importance of our ancient forests and native woodlands, not only in sustaining life on our shared planet but also in inspiring and enriching our culture."
The film was produced by Merit Motion Pictures and Edgeland Films with the participation of Canada Media Fund, Rogers Documentary Fund, Manitoba Film and Music, Tree Canada, Rogers Telefund, The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the province of Manitoba.
Jeff McKay has been making films since 1986, working as an editor and director. Much of his experience and training came from time spent with the National Film Board of Canada for whom he has made three full length documentaries including the Peabody award-winning Fat Chance which Jeff directed, edited and co-wrote. His recent work focuses on environmental issues and the arts.
Merit Motion Pictures is one of Canada’s leading producers of factual entertainment programming. Founded by executive producer and industry veteran Merit Jensen Carr, Merit Motion Pictures is known for producing multi-platform programs that amaze, inform and delight. Recent highlights include the feature documentary Beyond the Spectrum, as well as the television special What Trees Talk About, produced for CBC’s The Nature of Things, and the 10-part documentary series Dr. Keri: Prairie Vet, currently airing on Animal Planet.
Diana Beresford-Kroeger is a world-renowned author, medical biochemist and botanist. Her books include “The Sweetness of a Simple Life”, “Arboretum Borealis”, and “The Global Forest”, which was the inspiration for Call of the Forest. In 2016, the Royal Geographic Society named her one of 25 women explorers in Canada. Diana is currently at work on a new book that will trace the Celtic roots of her vision of trees as fundamental to human welfare.